Construction of linear detention along Buffalo Bayou likely will require the removal of some trees and vegetation to achieve maximum results. In October 2017, the Flood Control District began tree and vegetation surveys within approximately 177 acres of Flood Control District property between State Highway 6 and the Sam Houston Tollway. The goal of the survey was to provide data needed to catalog existing vegetation and aid in evaluating potential future flood damage reduction projects. Results of the ongoing vegetation survey will be used to minimize removal of any desirable vegetation.
The 2017 survey was intended to complete and update a similar 2014 survey that included approximately 77 acres on the south side of Buffalo Bayou between North Eldridge Parkway and Wilcrest Drive. Additionally, the project will utilize other previous study efforts, including the Charting Buffalo study, as a starting point for identifying the linear detention basin compartments. Previous studies identified environmentally sensitive locations along Buffalo Bayou that will be avoided in this current effort.
The Flood Control District understands that Buffalo Bayou and Terry Hershey Park are special places for many Houstonians. The above-mentioned studies, surveys and other efforts are being made to ensure candidate space is developed in the most thoughtful and effective way possible.
The first phase of project construction included site preparation to mark and protect vegetated areas and trees being preserved during excavation. This was completed in April 2019. The next step is clearing trees and vegetation in the immediate detention compartment construction area and along construction access pathways. Construction then moves to excavation and removal of soil from the linear detention compartments.
Plans for the area include preserving a tree buffer where possible between the detention compartments and adjacent private property, and also preserving some trees and vegetation at the water’s edge.
On March 21, Harris County Precinct 3 relocated 17 trees from the project area to John Paul Landing Park.
Post construction, the area will be folded into the Flood Control District’s Tree Planting Program where we consistently plant from 12,000 to 15,000 trees per year. Existing linear basins within this stretch of Buffalo Bayou feature rolling slopes, native grassy meadows, forested areas and grass banks, and are integrated with Terry Hershey Park trails. A plan for tree replacement will be coordinated with Harris County Precinct 3, which is responsible for maintenance of Terry Hershey Park. It should be noted that the Flood Control District will not design or install recreational features as part of this effort.